Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2014

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Nevada to serve as pilot state for injection safety

Sun coverage

A hepatitis C outbreak in Las Vegas last year led to the discovery of a troubling lack of infection control standards in outpatient clinics nationwide.

Now Nevada will be the pilot site for a national program to educate medical providers and patients about proper injection procedures.

Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Shelley Berkley will announce the initiative to promote injection safety Wednesday in Washington.

The goal of the "One and Only" campaign is to prevent syringes from being reused -- a dangerous practice that can spread infectious disease.

Las Vegas learned that lesson first-hand last year when more than 100 people were infected with hepatitis C at a downtown endoscopy center that failed to use safe medical practices.

Reid, who did radio and TV public service announcements shortly after the outbreak, has been working with the CDC since then, according to his spokesman, Jon Summers.

The CDC published a study last month reporting that in at least 33 hepatitis B and C outbreaks the common thread was nonhospital settings.

The education campaign will try to influence the culture of those healthcare settings to ensure that needles and syringes are used only once so not to contaminate medicine. The campaign is encouraging patients to be proactive and ask about a facility's injection safety practices when being treated.

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